Perhaps you are familiar with what is known as the BIG Rock Strategy.
The idea of the Big Rock concept was made famous by Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If you are unfamiliar with Covey’s analogy, let me start here.
A time management guru was speaking to a group of business owners. He placed a wide-mouth jar on the table in front of him. Next to the jar was a collection of fist-sized rocks. He carefully filled the jar with the big rocks until he could fit no more.
He asked the group “Is the jar full?”
Everyone responded, “Yes.”
He then pulled a large bowl of pebbles from under the table and proceeded to pour the pebbles into the jar. The pebbles fit into the spaces between the rocks. He again queried, “Is the jar full?”
“Probably not,” was the group’s reply.
He reached for another bowl, this one filled with sand. He dumped the sand into the jar. The sand filled the spaces not taken by the rocks and the pebbles. Once more he asked, “Is the jar full?”
“No,” everyone agreed.
Finally, he reached for a jug of water and poured water into the jar until it was filled to the top. The time management guru looked at the group and asked, “What is the point of my illustration?”
One man replied, “That no matter how full your schedule is, you can always fit one more thing into it.”
“No!” the guru responded, “The point of this illustration is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them all in!”
One of the greatest determinants of the success of your business will be deciding what are your BIG Rocks?
If you are unclear what the most critical things are in your business, you will likely fill your days with low priority and non-revenue producing activities.
Many of the entrepreneurs I meet in my travels are unclear about what their BIG Rocks are and as a result they are often busy, just not busy making money. The goal of business is not to simply create activity; it’s to create revenue!
Too often business owners are engaged in time consuming activities that produce little or no financial benefit to their business. They have effectively filled their bowl with sand and now they are trying to fit in a BIG Rock and wondering why they can’t do it!
If you want to really get your business moving and massively increase your profitability, here are 4 critical steps for you to take.
The first step for most people is to begin by emptying their bowl. They need to stop doing low value work. This may even result in the need to sack some of your clients, especially any low value, high need clients who deliver little or no real profit and eat up all your time. Before you can make room for new opportunities, you first must make the space for them to fit into your life.
Determine what your BIG Rocks are going to be. To do this you need to ask yourself a key question:
For What Purpose?
It is incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity that is not aligned with achieving your actual purpose.
For example, I have watched lots of people over the years run information nights for prospective clients. The purpose of the evening is to win new business.
The problem, however, is the entrepreneur gets caught up trying to design the most information rich, educational presentation ever given.
While delivering interesting and valuable content is important, it is not a BIG rock. The BIG Rocks are making sure the event is well attended – in this scenario bums on seats are your priority, then the next Big Rock is to ensure the evening is set up to achieve the goal of winning new business.
If you manage to get people there and they all leave saying that was a wonderful presentation but none of them end up purchasing from you, then the event cannot be considered a success.
Only once you get truly clear about what the BIG Rocks are in your business, will you unlock your true profit potential. And that starts by asking yourself “FOR WHAT PURPOSE?” regularly and before you take any action.
The primary lesson of Covey’s Big Rock analogy is big rocks first, but it also highlights that you need to prioritise your activities.
One of the things I constantly encourage Marketers Club members to do is focus on their primary money-making activities first.
As a business owner, there is a never-ending list of possible activities you could be engaged in. The difference between average and outstanding performers however, is the way they prioritise their time.
Make sure you work on the most important stuff first.
Avoid falling into the trap of tackling all the low priority agenda items first before you get to the important stuff. This is the sure-fire way to diminish your profitability.
Learn to say NO.
‘No’ is one of the most important words in the entrepreneur’s vocabulary.
If you are like most of the entrepreneurs I know, you often say YES when what you want and need to say is NO.
You may receive an unreasonable request from a client, supplier or staff member and instead of saying that’s not OK, you say sure thing.
An inability to say NO can quickly take you off course.
If you are unsure what your BIG Rocks are, you will tend to say yes to just about anything. This type of approach usually flows from a sense of scarcity.
If you are worried about where the next dollar will come from, then you are far more likely to say yes to anyone, even when what they want is not really what you do. This may solve your short-term cash flow issue, but in the long-term it keeps you trapped working with lower value clients.
How clear are you right now about what you do and just as importantly what you don’t?
The tighter your niche, the easier it will be for you to:
- Market what you do
- Communicate your point of difference
- Target a specific audience
- Stay on course
Distractions are everywhere. There is no end to the shiny objects that can catch your eye. But by knowing what your BIG Rocks are, you will be able to quickly dismiss anything that does not advance your cause. Conversely, you will be able to make faster decisions about those things that will catapult you towards greater results.